Sat, Jan. 18

Crime/Courts/Emergency Services

Major Cottonwood drug bust

Partners Against Narcotics Trafficking (PANT) and the Cottonwood Police teamed up to close down what was described as a large-scale drug operation in the city in an action dubbed Operation Lite-house.

Five subjects were arrested on numerous charges including possession and transportation of dangerous drugs and narcotics for sale, conspiracy, use of a weapon in a drug offense and involving a minor in a drug offense. Officers purchased methamphetamine and cocaine from the suspects over several months.

PANT allegedly seized about four ounces of meth worth $9,000, cocaine, several vehicles and other contraband.

The suspects include Carlos E. Valdez, 22, Jose Marin Lopez-Garcia, 23, Angel Esteaun Vasquez, 18, Mario Garcia, 34 and Pedro Vasquez, 22, also known as "Chato."

Fire burns Camp Verde mobile

Improperly stored cleaning materials are blamed for a fire in a mobile home Monday in Verde Lakes Estates. Camp Verde Fire crews contained the blaze to a single bedroom in the Cypress Drive doublewide.

Firefighters were called to the heavy black smoke in the mobile just after 1 p.m. and quickly knocked down the fire. In addition to flames in the bedroom, the mobile suffered smoke damage throughout.

Student gets detention

A 14-year old student at Camp Verde Middle School was referred to juvenile detention after chronically refusing to follow school rules.

The teen had been scolded repeatedly and was warned that he would be charged if he continued to be a disruption in class.

Monday morning, when the boy again bothered other students in class, he was arrested and charged with disrupting an educational institution.

Off to a rough start

Richard Henderson, of Camp Verde, was placed under arrest on charges of disorderly conduct per domestic violence. The 18-year-old was reported to be yelling at a girl when an officer arrived.

Henderson allegedly refused to follow the deputy's commands saying, "leave me alone," resisting efforts to restrain or handcuff him.

A 17-year-old girl told police that the couple had been arguing over their engagement ring. Henderson said he wanted the ring back, but she had refused. No one had been struck during the argument.

Cottonwood woman lost and found

The Cottonwood Police Department this week asked for public help in finding Cottonwood woman Myrta Newark. She is 93-years-old and was described as confused and may suffer dementia. She was reportedly found Wednesday night.

Newark was last seen in Cottonwood on Tuesday at 2 p.m., when she picked up her car from a local repair shop.

She was reported to be going straight home, but she spent the night at a lodge in Strawberry. Her car was last seen at the lodge Wednesday morning at about 7:30 a.m. Her family told police the area is unknown to her and they thought she was confused and unable to find her way home or seek help.

Then late Wednesday night, authorities found Newark in Gilbert. There is no further information about how she got there.

Wrong way parking gets busted

Two men were jailed on drug and DUI charges Saturday morning. It all started when a Cottonwood Police officer patrolling on N. Second Street near Pinal in Old Town spotted a car with its engine running parked on the wrong side of the street with the men inside.

As the officer approached he believed the men were moving their arms quickly as if hiding something.

The driver, Michael Dean May, 26, of Cornville said the engine was running to let it warm up.

They reportedly gave permission to search the vehicle. According to the report, the officer found a metal tin which held a broken glass smoking pipe with a black residue, a butane pen torch Q-tips and a baggie with a crystalline substance, thought to be methamphetamine. An opened cold open can of beer was also allegedly in the vehicle.

The passenger, Beau Jack Clark, 28, who claimed to have been drinking, also claimed the silver box with "some meth" was his. But, the officer found that May's eyes were bloodshot and dilated. May's urine allegedly tested positive for amphetamines and marijuana.

Bridge bumper cars

A three-vehicle collision was reported on the Oak Creek Bridge in Cornville Wednesday morning. The incident was a multiple rear ender. The wreck, which slowed traffic through the area, involved seven vehicle occupants but all refused medical treatment.

Fast food arrests

Spencer Lee Jones was arrested at the Cottonwood Sonic Friday night, with his wife and 13-year-old daughter in the vehicle.

Jones had been recognized from a prior offense and a computer check showed he was wanted on a bad check warrant.

When asked if he still used methamphetamine, Jones, 35, at first claimed he's been "clean" since July, but the officer allegedly found a glass meth pipe with residue in his jacket. Jones denied the pipe was his. An officer trained as a drug recognition expert (DRE) determined Jones was impaired with methamphetamine. That's when he allegedly claimed he had used two days earlier. His urine tested for meth and the officer found a pack of a crystal substance that field-tested as methamphetamine in his sock.

Jones was charged with aggravated DUI, possession of dangerous drugs, paraphernalia as well as the warrant.

Officers were at the Sonic after following another suspect and pulling him over at the fast food restaurant.

The officer trailed Jacob Allen Butler, 20, from Highway 260 near Fir. The Cottonwood man had locked the tires of his Saturn and the vehicle swerved and skidded sideways, but he allegedly refused to stop for the officer. Even after using lights and sirens it was necessary to use the intercom to get Butler to pull to the side.

The officer said the man had watery bloodshot eyes and refused to answer questions and refused to submit to drug and alcohol testing. A drug recognition-qualified officer felt Butler was on "some" illegal substance, but could not make an evaluation.

Finally, the officer got permission for a search warrant for blood evidence. Butler was charged with DUI/drugs and failure to stop for an officer.

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